Home Forums General Discussion Forum Wittnauer day/date troubleshooting question

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      My son-in-law has asked me to look at an old Wittnauer day/date. It runs well until about 10:30 at night. Date wheels start to turn then minute and hour hands stop but second hand continues running. Since second hand keep going I assume power is still being transmitted through drive train. When you advance hands with crown day and date change smoothly. Have taken day wheel off and checked for obstructions but saw nothing. Took me about 30 minutes to figure out way to get it back on so it would work. Also had to research way to even take off dial. Had never seen those levers eta uses instead of dial screws before. After doing all that watch still does same thing. Am wondering if canon pinion is too loose. That is only way I can see that watch would contine to run even though minute and hour hand are stopped. Am I on right track and can anything be done besides trying to find replacement canon pinion?

      Bob Tascione

        Hi C_Kelly,
        Yes, if nothing seems to be catching in the calendar then I think you are on the right track. It’s fairly common for cannon pinions to wear over the years and become loose. If the hands feel a bit loose when setting this is a possible indication of a worn cannon pinion. When in setting mode try moving the hands backwards while observing the second hand. If the second hand stops then the fit is probably ok and the problem may be elsewhere. If the hand doesn’t stop and the hands “feel” loose when setting then it may need to be tightened a little. You can “test” (not repair) it by removing the cannon pinion and putting a thin hair (really) between the cannon pinion and center arbor pressing the pinion back on. Then let it run through the night to see if it works ok. If it works fine you can tighten the fit by following the procedure that is in the text part of the online watch or ultra course by going to “Motion Works” and then to page 3.

        What I’m about to write next will be clear to you after you check out Motion Works, Page 3…
        If you don’t have a staking set or a cannon pinion tightener then this may help. Some people use blunted finger nail clippers to close it a little. I prefer having 3 points rather than two as explained in the course but the clippers seem to work fine for others and I’ve never tried it so…just remember to put a taper pin or broach into the hole to support it and dull the jaws of the clipper so you don’t cut through.
        Please post the results (or more questions if you have them) so we know how things work out C_Kelly,


          Thanks for info. I just checked out watch as you suggested. I had observed that stopping of a second hand hundreds of times but I had never related it to a trouble shooting method. When I tried it on this watch the second hand didn’t even offer to hesitate. Tomorrow I’m on a vacation so I will probably take it apart again and try the fingernail clipper trick on it. Hadn’t thought of that even though I have used them for other things. I do not have a staking set at the present. Have been looking for one to go cheap on ebay but haven’t had much luck. What I do now if I need a part is search ebay or Dashto, get a donor movement with part I need and end up with extra spare parts. May not be the best way but has worked pretty well so far. On some of the wristwatches I have worked on it may be the only way for me. I had searched for a balance for a Gruen 400 movement. When I finally found it the cost was more than buying a donor watch, case, dial and all. Never did find a balance staff at all.
          I should have told my son-in-law that I don’t mess with these automatic watches but he would never have it fixed unless I do it. I have taken the day/date dials off watches from three different companies and they are each totally different. It’s something to practice on anyway.


            Hi again,
            Tried tricks you suggested today. Took fingernail clips and tried to tighten canon pinion. Thought I put pretty much pressure on them but could not tell that I had touched it when I checked it out under about 10x loupe. Went ahead and reinstalled everything deciding that I could always put on more pressure later if needed. Set watch to 10:30 pm. Noticed that there seemed more resistance to crown when moving hands but second hand still did not stop when moving hands backwards. Anyway watched for awhile and at 11:30 on watch day dial clicked over and at 11:45 so did the date. Have reset it to 10:00 pm to see if I can duplicate success. If this continues to work may take file to teeth of clippers and cut a v shape into one side to try and duplicate canon pinion tool shown in diagram of watch course. I had read that section earlier but had forgotten as I had never came upon loose canon pinion before. Anyway am hoping we took care of problem.

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